Youth Congress activists, protesting against the Plus Two question paper leak, on Tuesday went on a rampage at the office of the Collector here, prompting police to resort to lathicharge to bring the situation under control.
Around 11 activists including three women and several policemen were injured in the scuffle that ensued as activists bypassed barricades and resorted to vandalisation of the office property. The injured were admitted to SCBMCH.
The activists under the three Youth Congress units of Barabati Cuttack, Choudwar and Sadar had come together to hold demonstration demanding resignation of Higher Education Minister Badrinarayan Patra. They burnt effigy of the Minister and demanded the Collector to receive the memorandum from them.
Some activists then sneaked into the Collectorate and began breaking flower pots. They also sprayed black colour on Additional District Magistrate (ADM) B Sarangi, who had come down to receive the memorandum from them. With the matter beginning to go out of control, police resorted to lathicharge. The activists alleged that police action was unwarranted. “We were demanding the Collector to receive the memorandum but he was not coming out of office. When we insisted, the police started the lathicharge. Flower pots might have been broken by some enraged youths as a reaction to lathicharge,” president of Cuttack Lok Sabha Youth Congress unit Santosh Bhol said.
Collector Girish SN said it was a deliberate act of vandalism. The ADM is a senior administrative official and is authorised to receive a memorandum. When he went down, the activists misbehaved with him, Girish alleged.
Police also refuted allegations of high-handedness saying it had observed maximum restraint. “They did not heed our repeated requests and resorted to damaging Government property,” ACP PK Jena said. While district administration has lodged a complaint with police, a case has been registered against the Youth Congress activists.